Does technology control our lives? do we change the way we work around technology or does technology change as we need it to? technodeterminism is a term that implies that technology controls us. it controls what we do, it controls society and suggest that changes in society only come about because of technology. but how true is this? i believe neither extreme is the correct answer. we change technology to suit us but we also adapt our techniques and ways of thinking when new technology is introduced into our lives. think about it, before the days of the cellphone, people would never even consider being able to speak to someone on the go. same with the age before the portable music player, the only way to hear music was through a cd player and before that a record player. we evolve technology to suit our needs but then we evolve ourselves to work with the technology, its part of our culture. even the word technology is part of our culture, the word itself didn’t even exist a mere few centuries ago and now it’s everywhere we look. it just goes to show how quickly things change in society and how quickly our culture adapts to this change.
this notion of culture changing along with society is similar to a point from a few weeks back that adrian made that context does not survive. everything we have today can only really be analysed within the context of today, because in the past we did not have these technologies and so everything was created with a completely different view and way of thinking, as will be everything in the future.
this leads me (kinda) into my topic of discussion today, what’s wrong with the music industry? this is all stemming from our discussions in class last week. i don’t really remember how we got onto it but it ended with us (well, mainly me) hating pretty heavily on one direction. i’ll try not to do that too much here but i’m warning you now, it might go there. first off for me is the huge difference between “pop” music that we have today and the pop music from 20-30 or so years ago. it just seems to be of a completely different calibre. to see what i mean, check out this picture which compares beyonce’s “run the world” with Queens “bohemian Rhapsody” (which is the best song ever! not to mention best karaoke song). i mean, come on!!! that song has pretty much just one line!!and it took 6 people to write it? what is happening world? but, as i’ve been mentioning, it’s difficult to compare because they were made in completely different times with different cultures and different ways of life. for some more depressing facts about music comparisons (between now and good music/artists), check out this site here. its pretty sad thinking that K$sha’s “tik tok” sold more copies than any beatles’ song but again, different times. back when the beatles were big, the music industry was different (and in my opinion, better). music broadcast wasn’t as widespread, you couldn’t download you music. music players weren’t as easily accessible. there are a whole range of excuses one can come up with. but at the end of the day, has the music changed?
i myself have never been the hugest fan of pop music. i’m more of an alternative/punk/rock kinda listener. my favourite songs off an album are very rarely the singles that are released for radio.and to me that’s because they just have that different quality, an attempt to be more marketable. the single needs to sell or no one will buy the cd.
here are some quick dot points of stuff that our class discussed in regards to the prolifity and repetition of the same crap on the radio today:
Current media songs written in metaphor, they never specify a person, its always “you”.
- for example: Katy perry: firework or one direction: you don’t know you’re beautiful
- These songs can be adapted to anyone/anything so that everyone can think it’s about them
- this makes it more marketable – because its attractive to anyone, everyone will listen and buy it
- they never makes the subject of the song specific
- and are structured to have the broadest possible appeal
- this is to maximise sales
- they want to find the most efficient way of producing popular music (least amount of cost and effort for most amount of sales)
- Thats what the music industry is: its an industry.
and this is where shows like Idol (american or australian) or the X factor or the Voice or whatever other singing competition shows are out there come in. they exemplify this, a lack of connection with music. or even a lack of real music being produced. because today, pop stars are not writing music because thats what they want, or because they love music, but because they want to make money. and their songs reveal this, they don’t have meanings, the lyrics don’t truly connect because there is nothing behind them, they have just been written to please the masses and make the sales. the winners of these competitions are given records, they are given music and are given lyrics and simply told to perform, but there is nothing behind it. what’s the different between one direction and the Beatles? well, aside from the time gap, the beatles were a band and one direction is a boy band. the beatles wrote and played their own music (granted, it got kinda razy and drug infused towards the end. and i’m not saying their song’s weren’t ambiguous and lovey) while one direction are just 5 random boys (i won’t deny that they can sing though) who were put together instead of being eliminated and have songs written for them. it just feels as though emphasis is being taken away from working hard and putting yourself into the music and placed on making as much money as you can. and so now every series of X factor is trying to create the next supergroup of random teen boys to keep that money rolling in.
sorry, it got a bit intense there. now you can see why i don’t listen to pop music. i’ll stick with my rock bands, let the world keep pumping out the same commercialised songs one after another. after all, there wouldn’t be the long tail without the part at the front.
oh, and back to the “does media control our lives” question. check out this article about a teenager who died from playing 2 days straight of playing video games. very sad.